The Art of Political Decision Making

Stone, Deborah. 2012. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. Third Edition. W.W. Norton and Company

Read the book “Stone, Deborah. 2012. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. Third Edition. W.W. Norton and Company.” Analyse it an apply it to the hearing provided. The book is the primary source and use the hearing as an example of how the policies in the book are applied there.

1. Organize the paper into the following four sections: Goals, Problems, Solutions, and Conclusions.

2. Remember to write an introductory paragraph.

The structure of your introductory paragraph should look very similar to the following:

The impact of illegal immigration on the US has led to a renewed interest in the topic of immigration reform. The following paper uses a recent Senate hearing entitled (hearing title) to analyze different policy positions addressing this topic. Using Stone’s policy analysis categories, the paper analyzes how hearing witnesses define goals, construct problems, and promote solutions. The paper is organized into four sections that use Stone’s theory to understand the problem. The first section analyzes how the goals of immigration reform are shaped by the policy goals of (insert Stone goal) and (insert Stone goal). The second section explains how the problems of (insert Stone problem) and (insert Stone problem) shape the discussion of immigration. The third section illustrates how the solutions of (insert Stone solution) and (insert Stone solution) relate to the problems and goals discussed in the hearing. In the final section, the previous examples are used to explain how Stone’s, Polis model fits the policymaking process better than the marketplace model.

3. In the section on goals use the testimony from the hearing participants (try to include both Senators and witnesses) to find examples of two of the four types of goals discussed by Stone (equity, efficiency, security, liberty). The section should identify the goal, give an example, and explain how the example illustrates Stone’s ideas.

4. Using Stone’s example of tradeoffs find one example of how the witnesses refer to tradeoffs and explain how it illustrates Stone’s ideas..

5. In the section on problems, use the testimony from the witnesses to find examples of two types of problem definition strategies discussed by Stone (Symbols, Numbers, Causes, Interests, Decisions). The section should identify the problem, give an example of how the witness uses the strategy to define the problem, and explain how the example illustrates Stone’s ideas.

6. In the section on solutions use the testimony from the hearing to find examples of two types of solutions discussed by Stone (inducements, rules, facts, rights, powers). The section should identify the solution, give an example of how witnesses construct the solution, and explain how the example illustrates Stone’s ideas.

7. In the conclusion, you need to explain how the examples from the sections support Stone’s idea of policymaking in the Polis.

8. Please provide references in your paper by giving me Stone’s name and page number in parentheses or the hearing page number at the end of the section in which you used the reference (eg. Stone, 92) . If you use outside materials please include a reference page with bibliographical information (author, year, title, publishing information, and page numbers).

9. Remember one of the main goals of the paper is to demonstrate that you understand Stone. This means that you need to use Stone’s language when you are explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the positions provided in the reading.

10. If you have any questions please contact me.


1. Introductory paragraph

2. Four Sections addressing the following: a) two of Stone’s goals and one tradeoff, b) three of Stones causes, c) two of Stone’s Solutions, and d) conclusion discussing Polis.

3. References (when in doubt quote it and reference it)

Example of an analytical paragraph from a past student’s paper:

Another problem Dr. Batten alludes to is described through numbers. He states: “The United States possesses only 2-3 percent of the estimated world oil reserves, but it consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil, and U.S.’s oil production has dropped relentlessly for the past 20 years.†This statement is loaded with numbers and statistics. Rather than simply say, “The United States owns a small margin of the world’s oil while consuming a great amount,†Batten paints a very vivid picture and describes a very compelling story. The numbers signify our lack of control and dominance in the energy sphere and our reliance on others, not only in the present but in the past. He also implies that unless our ways our augmented, such as reducing our demand, then things will continue to worsen. This supports Stone’s theory that numbers “…are the premier language for stories of decline and decay. Figures are invoked to show that a problem is getting bigger and worse, or to project present trends into the future to demonstrate that decline is just around the bend.



Prof. Angela


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